Turning back time: How golden oldies can still cut it on the course

With age comes many things but one of them needn't be losing your golf game!

Turning back time: How golden oldies can still cut it on the course

IN THE MAJORITY of sports, there usually comes a time when top professionals are expected to reach their peak. Footballers and tennis players are expected to start declining in their thirties, while golfers are expected to be past their best in their mid to late-forties. Fortunately, there have been quite a few exceptions to the rule in this sport, especially in the past year or two.

Duke reigns supreme on tour

Earlier this year, veteran Ken Duke was known for occasionally making the odd foray into the top-10 of the leaderboard in some of the minor PGA Tour events. However, at the age of 44, Duke managed to get his maiden win on the Tour at the Travelers Championship, striking a blow for the older professionals finding themselves outflanked by the younger stars.

Duke’s win proved that all it takes is four good rounds in a row to win a big event, and he’s not the only older player to impress of late. At the Open at Muirfield, likeable Ryder Cup star Miguel Angel Jimenez proved that, at 49, he was still capable of mounting a challenge. Until a disappointing final round, the Andalucian was among the main contenders for the title.

Still swinging

Once they turn 50, some of the main stars on the PGA and European Tour decide to play the senior tours in their respective regions, mainly for the love of the game. As has been shown in recent senior majors, the likes of Bernhard Langer can still post great rounds, and there are examples like that of Tom Watson at the 2009 Open  of older guys showing the game’s whippersnappers how it’s done.

In many ways, older players tend to have a big advantage over their younger rivals. Their experience means that they tend to be cool under pressure, something that cannot be said of the struggling USPGA champion Rory McIlroy. He’s had a poor year by his standards, however if you are looking for value, he is 25/1 at Ladbrokes to retain his crown at the USPGA.

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